The councils and staff of Greater Napanee and Lennox & Addington County are taking social distancing and the protection of public and staff very seriously, says Greater Napanee Mayor and L&A County Warden Marg Isbester, as they held a series of meetings outdoors in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
“We needed to have (council meetings) open to the public,” says Isbester, “and with our buildings closed to the public, this was the only option.”
“Hopefully the Province will be passing legislature today or tomorrow to allow for virtual meetings,” said Isbester, explaining that councils are required to make council meetings open to the public and that any technological solutions for virtual meetings, such as Zoom, would have to allow the public to log in and listen as well.
Greater Napanee council held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning in front of Town Hall, while the L&A County meeting was held on Thursday evening in the parking lot of the County’s Museum and Archives building.
At the Greater Napanee town council meeting, councillors discussed urgent budget items, some delegation of authority to staff members, and made preparations in case the town needed to make a declaration of emergency as a result of the pandemic.
At the L&A County meeting, some tenders were issued and delegations of authority were made to staff.
“There’s so much coming down the tubes…but we are working through it,” says Isbester, as she reflects on the unusual council meeting venues.
“We are making sure we are doing our part to stomp out the curve of COVID-19. Self-isolation and distancing has to take place or we won’t get the flattening of the curve that we need. We all have to do our part.”